No one was aware of the imperceptible information that was going to upend the world in unprecedented ways. On December 31 2019, W.H.O. (World Health Organization) was notified of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan city, China. Overtime, it developed into a serious pandemic that circled the globe. Scientists and medical professionals were taken by surprise. As the numbers of cases escalated throughout the world rapidly, they realized how this pathogen is being readily transmitted among humans.
PANDEMIC AND TRANSMISSION
“Pandemic comes from the Greek word ‘pandemos’, which means everybody,” Michael Ryan, the executive director of the Health Emergencies Programme at WHO, told reporters.
Eventually, scientists discovered that it is like the highly transmissible influenza, similar to its slow-moving viral relatives SARS and MERS. Most people know and remember SARS and MERS which emerged earlier. However, it wasn’t as devastating as Covid-19. Globally, more than 7,700 people have been infected since the confirmed Wuhan Coronavirus case in December 2019. Although growth is not as quick as flu or measles, it’s a huge jump beyond what virologists saw when SARS and MERS surfaced. It is suspected that previous outbreaks of similar diseases including SARS have arisen from animal markets. Bats are considered a reliable source because many viruses have adapted to co-exist. However, it’s very likely that the virus was transmitted to an intermediate species from the bats and then to humans. Your guess is as good as mine as to what “intermediate” species. There were also many conspiracy theories circulating on social media.
So, here we are today, July 24th 2021 with 194,205,675 worldwide reported cases and 4,163,390 deaths. The US tops the list with 35,283,075 cases followed by India 31,332,159 cases. Malaysia is ranked number 31 with 996,393 cases and 7,902 deaths. (Source: worldometers.info/coronavirus).
As the disease progressed relentlessly throughout the world, scientists were trying their best to get a better grasp of the nature of the virus. In the meantime, WHO declared an “international public health emergency”. Governments and organizations began to take extreme measures by putting a halt to global travel. There were evacuations, lockdowns, and mass quarantines as the virus continue ravaging our planet.
Researchers are still until this day, working to understand this new threat, including the creation of a vaccine or other alternative cures. It’s quite an arduous task as the virus is constantly evolving and moving from person to person.
The scourge of Covid-19 is a life-changing event. People have had to change their lifestyles and the way they live. Our lives have been disrupted by wearing masks, social distancing, and lockdowns.
For some people, wearing a mask may cause uneasiness due to allergies or breathing problems especially for long periods of time. We have to constantly remember to wash or sanitize our hands. Social distancing measures being used to slow its spread are stopping much economic activity. Going out for drinks or having a meal with friends and relatives anytime is no longer an option. The “party’s over” so to speak. It all depends if lockdowns have been imposed in your area which is very inconsistent. Cross-border travel is another complication.
Schools, universities, and other learning institutions have not been spared by this malady. On and off, they had to experience shutdowns and go online. I have spoken to several students who have complained that it’s different from actually attending physical classes.
All these restrictions have had a profound effect on the economy worldwide. Many well-known and small companies in the various businesses have wound up. Hotels and the tourism industry have been badly hit. This in turn has a ripple effect on unemployment. Personally, I was affected by the closure of the club for good where I used to play my favourite sport for over two decades. It might seem insignificant but it means a lot to me. The list goes on.
It’s human nature to be social and interact. Few are adaptable to current living conditions and are experiencing severe stress which leads to mental problems. On the flip side, some people are just plain recalcitrant and trying to attract attention. Numerous videos have gone viral showing bad behavior and ridiculous excuses for their actions. They will use human rights violations and other senseless reasons for their aggressive behavior.
Indeed, Covid-19 has impacted the world in ways no one imagined. Is it here to stay? I’m not a virologist or in the medical profession, but I’m confident that we are able to control its spread like many other viruses in the distant future. In the meantime, it’s better to learn to improvise, adapt and overcome.
Chuck is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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